This was my baby in class today, Moroccan lamb stew. My buddy, Kim and I worked on this together for most of our production time and it turned out pretty darn well. We were proud of ourselves anyways. This stew is probably the most unique one I’ve ever made because it has dried fruit and nuts in it, as well as honey. Combined with all the spices that the meat is marinated in, it makes for a very hearty and satisfying stew. It has a very complex and warm flavor from the spices the meat is marinated in, with a hint of sweetness from the dried fruit. It’s one of the more unique soups we’ve made at school. Just a heads up, this has to simmer for over an hour before the lamb gets tender, so give yourself some time to make it.
Moroccan Lamb Stew
3 lbs. lamb cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon saffron
½ cup of flour, 2 cup water
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks, 1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 1/2 cups dried apricots cut in ¼’s and raisins
1/2 cups almonds, whole, blanched and peeled
1-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1 cup carrots, cut into bite sized cubes, blanched
1 cup French green beans cut in half, blanched
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. In a bowl combine 1 cup water, the ginger, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and water and mix well. Add the meat and rub in the paste, coating evenly.
2. In a rondeau heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and cinnamon sticks and cook until the onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant.
3. Add the marinated meat (including the marinade) to the pot and sear for 4 minutes. Then add the chicken stock. Bring the stock to a boil, and skim off any scum that appears.
4. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer in the oven, stirring from time to time. Add water if the pot becomes too dry. Stew until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours, more if needed.
5. Add the apricots, almonds, honey, carrots and beans and simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching, until the meat is very soft and almost falling apart, about 30 minutes longer. The sauce should reduce to a syrupy glaze. At this point taste and add lemon juice to desired level. The lemon juice brings some balance to the sweetness from the honey and apricots.
6. Stir in the chopped parsley and transfer to a serving dish.
We made a few modifications to this recipe that helped tweak the flavors in the stew. We used about half of the honey the recipe called for. If we would have used any more, the stew would have been way too sweet. We added salt after we added the honey because even that was a little too much. 2-3 tablespoons would probably suffice; you want the sweetness of the fruit to make the stew sweet, not the honey. We also didn’t add any lemon juice to ours. It tasted balanced to us after we added the salt, so we didn’t think it was necessary to add it. Finally, we added a cornstarch slurry to tighten up our stew a bit. It was just a bit too thin and a little bit of slurry got us where we wanted it to be. The carrots and the green beans are meant to be stirred in at the end of the stewing process to give the soup color, but you could certainly put them in whenever you want, especially if you’re cooking at home.
Off to work on a nutrition project! Be well & happy eating!